Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) is a third-generation Harlemite. She was born in 1987 in Baltimore, Maryland (her family originally from Harlem returned back to Harlem while she was still in diapers).
She is the daughter of Dr. Lynne Richardson and Dr. Desmond Jordan, two minority physicians who have worked extremely hard and who have overcome great obstacles to establish successful careers while striving to serve their communities and help those underserved and underrepresented in health and science.
Her father, Dr. Desmond A. Jordan, just passed in November 2020. He is deeply missed.
Growing up in Harlem, New York and the Upper West Side with frequent visits to New Jersey, Kristin attended the Calhoun School where she graduated cum laude with distinction in Social Studies, Spanish, Mathematics, Science, and Music. She then attended Brown University where she graduated class of 2009 as a double major in in Black Studies (“Africana”) and Literary Arts and was a commencement speaker for the Africana Studies department.
KRJ is now a book printing poet, teaching artist, author, and activist in the Harlem community (where her mother is from and now lives, where her great aunt lived, and where her grandparents lived – 3 generations of Harlem).
Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) has published her own (and others) work by starting an independent publishing company called Pens Up Press, for literary activists generally, and Black and Latino activists in particular to publish and promote books for and about making a better world. Kristin’s first book titled Mules Fight Back: 40 Activist Poems and Stories is a poetic response to the famous Zora Neale Hurston reference that the Black woman is the “mule of the world,” and her most recent work, Water & Light: Choose Love Now, rooted in her personal experience with an abusive relationship is about a totality of things from personal, interpersonal, romantic, platonic, social, communal to national revolution. In addition to her own work and publishing, Kristin also coordinates the Uproar Poetry Group, an online Facebook platform for activist poets, and (until recently with the COVID pandemic) ran senior poems and senior current events workshops at A. Phillip Randolph Senior Center and Central Harlem Senior Center. She and her team continue to serve seniors and ALL Harlem residents with daily wellness checks and mutual aid.
As an activist Kristin has participated in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street mass movements. She’s been a member of the ANSWER coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), a supporter of Freedom Hall and Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in Harlem, and a member of AALUSC (African Ancestrial Lesbians United for Societal Change). In 2012 Kristin founded a cop watch team and has continued to this day to be an advocate for police accountability. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America, a member of LT-ACT (Lenox Terrace Tenants Association), and the Social Justice Chair for United Methodist Women at Salem Church. Kristin is also a practicing Buddhist (Christian Buddhist) and member of Soka Gakkai International (SGI).
As a teacher and a teaching artist KRJ has worked for a number of notable organizations including Directions For Our Youth and Girl Be Heard; and until recently was a literacy specialist at Harlem Boys & Girls Club. She was also the co-founder of Freedom Love Birthright a writing and community theatre youth program in the spirit of African and African-American ancestry that took place in 2019 in Central Harlem.
As a public speaker, panelist, and guest lecturer, Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) has presented at Circle of Voices, the Kennedy Center, Hostos Community College, and Montclair State University. She has also been featured on a number of podcasts including Mind Over Melanin.
Kristin is passionate about social justice, and the history, politics, and culture(s) of all people generally and Black people in particular. Politically spiritually and personally she believes in serving people including but not limited to housing, environment, health, food, education, and criminal/policing justice. She is an optimist and an idealist who dreams about a truly equal and equitable world based on seeing whole people and the humanity in every person..
Kristin feels connected to…
black identity, politics, culture, liberation, history, womanhood, queer identity, poetry, neo soul music, and activism.
white supremacy, patriarchy, paternalism, and blueberries.
reading, writing (especially poetry), being outside (especially when it’s hot), her family and friends-who-are-like-family, her cat named Squeaky, her hair, neo soul music, mass movements, meaningful organizing meetings, affirmations, African Art, Kwanzaa/black history celebrations (which should go on all year round in her opinion), swimming, the ocean, seafood, chocolate, rum cake, and open mics.